Soldering Iron Recommendations

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Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:07 am

It's been years since I've used a soldering iron and I want to get a decent one but not a bank breaker to use in repairing/replacing laptop power connectors. I'm trying to figure out what would be ideal for wattage and tips. Along with should I get a plain iron, gun, or station? Every place I've been looking at recommends the Weller brand.
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:53 am

Both Weller and Hakko are good brands, both have very good soldering stations with adjustable temperature at around $100 price point (like WES51 or FX888D), with plenty of various tip choices.
If you want to save more - I've also heard positive things about Aoyue products but I personally never used them.
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:18 am

I've been using a WES51 for 20 years. It runs $100-125 or so, but it's the last soldering iron you'll ever need to buy, and replacement parts are widely available. I usually run mine around 700F for general use but have varied it from 600-800F depending on the job.

For the type of work you're proposing, you will need a wet natural sponge (to keep the tip cleaned), temperature control (to avoid making bad connections or damaging the circuit board), and earth-grounding (to avoid accidental ESD damage). A good soldering station, and not a soldering gun or cheap unregulated iron from RadioShack, is the right tool for the job and totally worth the investment.

You'll also end up needing some accessories, including a couple desoldering tools. Don't go cheap on the desoldering pump -- the $1-5 units may mimic the design of $30 professional units, but tend to have poor suction, short lifespan, and no ESD protection.
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:34 am

I have an Hakko FX888D - it's a fantastic solder station! Great build quality, heats up very fast, and maintains its temperature very well.

You can't go wrong with the Hakko (or equivalent Weller). Can be had for $100 or less.
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:06 pm

/thread jack

You couldn't have a worse sounding username than that. Is TechReport turning into HardOCP?

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:34 pm

I'd always go for a Weller iron. I use a 60W with a fine flat sided tip. Never been keen on the expensive stations. For cap replacement and fitting new dc jacks A weller W61 is perfect IMO.
As for de-soldering, I refuse to use anything but my Edsyn soldapullt. Best damn solder sucker there is. http://www.edsyn.com/index.php?Mode=piw&pn=DS017LS
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:15 pm

Yes, Weller is the "go to" brand for quality soldering stations.

If you're looking to get equipped on the cheap, a pair of generic Radio Shack irons (a 40W and a 25W) will get most jobs done.
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:43 pm

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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:54 pm

One more vote for a simple solder station. You'll drop just under $100, but in my opinion this is the RIGHT answer.
If you are working on circuit boards....assuming that this is where the laptop power connectors are connected...then you really should be using a temperature controlled iron.

And if you've never used a station, it is hard to explain the difference. But, it makes soldering EASY and consistent. Those simple fixed wattage irons simple deliver the same power all the time. Let them sit too little before using and they are cool; let them sit too long and they start off way too hot.

Either the Hakko FX-888D or Weller WES51 would be a fine choice. We've got both at work. I like the WES51 for very small stuff but that could also be a factor of having the smaller tip on it most of the time. The Hakko wand is a little bigger around and just 'feels' better to me. And I believe the Hakko is a little more powerful, so it can deliver more heat when working on bigger connectors/junctions...check the spec sheet as I am making the more power claim from memory. I ended up buying the Hakko for my own at home.

I typically use the chisel tip that comes stock on the Hakko or just one size smaller.

I would also recommend some 63/37 solder. This will change states between liquid and solid quickly so let chance for errors if parts move while cooling.

I noticed there is a deal on Amazon now where you can pick up the iron along with a free pair of flush cutters for a good price.
http://www.amazon.com/Digital-FX888D-CH ... rds=CHP170

Final thoughts. I've never been disappointed when I've invested in a nice tool. But have been frustrated when I've tried to go on the cheap and got a bad or wrong tool for the job.
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Re: Soldering Iron Recommendations

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:59 am

I have found that the Hakko FX-888D is a great little station. It's the digital version of the discontinued FX-888. It heats up fast and has added features like sleep mode and pre-set modes, if you end up needing a certain temperature for several of your soldering projects. I tried to find the one I got online and found this one: http://www.gotopac.com/Hakko_FX888D_23BY_p/fx888d-23by-hak.htm. It appears to be on sale, comes with two free tips and free shipping to the US. Hope that helps :D .
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